MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — What wonders one win can do to a team’s postseason dreams and aspirations.
Heading into Monday night’s showdown in Hilton Coliseum, West Virginia (17-13, 6-11 Big 12) was projected as one of the “Last Four In” teams for the NCAA Tournament, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. During the game, it was stated that a loss to Iowa State would bump the Mountaineers outside of the cutline in the next round of tournament projections, and could be the loss that keeps WVU out of the tournament.
West Virginia didn’t allow that to happen. The Mountaineers ended the game on a 12-5 run over the final 3:38, pulled out a much-needed road victory, and now appear to be in the tournament, according to the latest March Madness projections.
Lunardi now has Bob Huggins’s crew slated as one of the “Last For Byes” teams, and a No. 10 seed in the West Region. WVU moved up four spots in terms of overall seed, leapfrogging an Auburn team that it defeated earlier this season.
Before Monday’s game, Lunardi had the Mountaineers as the No. 44 overall seed in the tournament.
West Virginia is in line to be one of seven teams from the Big 12 to make the tournament this season, though two others are just outside the tournament cutline as of Tuesday morning.
Following the win over the Cyclones, the Mountaineers moved up three spots to No. 23 in the NCAA NET Ranking, and up two spots to No. 21 in BPI.
West Virginia wraps up the regular season at home on Saturday when it hosts No. 11 Kansas State. A win on Saturday would almost certainly lock the Mountaineers into the NCAA Tournament field.